Lancashire County Council is to invest £6million into a ground-breaking scheme designed to help vulnerable children, young people and their families stay together.
Lancashire is believed to be one of the largest authorities to receive the government funding from the ‘Strengthening Families, Protecting Children Schemes’.
The investment will aid new family safeguarding teams and help specialist professionals work with families to address some of the issues that can lead to families breaking down, such as substance misuse, domestic abuse and mental health problems.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “It’s fantastic news that Lancashire County Council has secured this much-needed funding.
“This is an innovative and new way of looking at the way we support children and families.”
The grant looks to set up the new Family Safeguarding Teams and fund the new programme for three years with a hope to become self-funding by the end of this period.
Research, from Hertfordshire County Council, has shown the scheme has the potential to reduce the number of children involved in care proceedings by around 38% over three years.
This will have a significant impact with Lancashire’s numbers being higher than the national average with 2,000 children without a permanent home, an increase of nearly 25% between 2014 and 2018.
It is hoped early intervention by experts will keep more families together, ensuring fewer children need to leave their homes.
The scheme looks to use partners in schools, police, health and other voluntary, community and faith sector will allow more families to feel supported.
County Councillor Williamson added: “Of course there are cases where children absolutely have to be moved away from home because of concerns with their immediate safety and long-term wellbeing.
“However, for the majority of families, if we could support them earlier and tailor support to meet their needs, the action of removing the children may be able to be prevented before problems become more serious.”